And now, for an
encore, the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense will pick up Tulane Stadium and throw
it into the middle of Bourbon Street. L.C. Greenwood, or perhaps Mean Joe
Greene, will swallow what is left of Fran Tarkenton in a crawfish bisque. Why
not? They have already enjoyed dining on the Minnesota running game--has anyone
tasted Chuck Foreman's jersey lately?--and making Vikings fly this way and that
through the frozen gray sky over New Orleans.
In the 16-6 Super
Bowl IX victory on Jan. 12, 1975, the Steelers' defense was so magnificent that
the Vikings' offense never scored a single point, except two for Pittsburgh.
The Steel Curtain was so much in control that the Vikings gained only 17 yards.
Tarkenton went to the air early and stayed there, not that it did him much
good. Rolling to his right to evade the defenders who kept swarming after him,
he threw 27 times and completed just 11. Three of his passes were intercepted,
four were deflected and many were hurried.
With defense like
this, it was inevitable that the game would have a lot of insane turnaround
plays. How about a safety, which made it 2-0 Pittsburgh at halftime? Tarkenton,
on his own 10, faked a quick pitchout and tried to hand off to Dave Osborn on a
dive. But the ball either hit Foreman's hip or Foreman's hip hit the ball, and
the next thing anybody knew Tarkenton was scrambling--after the ball, which was
scooting toward the end zone--and being pursued by every Steeler but Art
Rooney. Fran prevented a Pittsburgh touchdown by recovering the ball and
sliding across the goal line with it for a safety.
what it had to do on defense, and a couple of guys on offense-- Terry Bradshaw
and Franco Harris--did what they had to. Harris continually tore away at the
Vikings en route to gaining 158 yards on 34 carries to break Larry Csonka's
Super Bowl records of 145 and 33. And it was Terry who saved the day. With the
score 9-6 and more than 10 minutes remaining, he took Pittsburgh 66 yards in an
11-play scoring drive that consumed more than seven minutes and ended all real
hope for Minnesota. In all, Bradshaw hit on 9 of 14 for 96 yards and said
afterward, "I've looked at all sides--being a hero and being a jerk. I
think I can handle this very well."